provided by Elissa Williams

Posing with fellow models, junior Elissa Williams hopes to further pursue modeling into the future and eventually move to New York with other models.

Elissa Williams

Grade: 11
Future college: Washington University, NYU , UCLA, OU
Future Job: Model
Years modeling: 3
Inspiration: Alanna Arrington

Wingspan: How did you get into modeling?

Williams: “My friends and family were suggesting it because of my height and I thought I would give it a shot.”

Wingspan: What is it like to balance school and modeling?

Williams: “It isn’t too bad. My agents try to schedule work around my breaks or over weekends. They value education. But, balancing school and working out is a little bit harder. I have to find time everyday to workout and keep my stress level low (to try and prevent as many pimples as possible) which is very difficult especially with the workload of junior year.”

Wingspan: What have you learned about yourself through modeling?

Williams: “I really just feel like I’ve found a new kind of confidence being surrounded by people who are my height. I’ve never really felt comfortable being the tallest one in the room, between girls and guys, but being around models makes me feel normal. I really just realized that I’m not alone and it feels good”.

Wingspan: What is the biggest challenge of being a model?

Williams: “The biggest challenge is probably keeping up the correct measurements. I wouldn’t mind eating ice cream and pizza every week but that just can’t happen if I want a 23” waist and my agency to get me work. Another equally challenging thing is dealing with rejection. It hasn’t gotten easier.”

Wingspan: How has growing up dancing helped you modeling?

Williams: “It has helped a lot. Dance taught me how to move which helps when I’m at a photoshoot because I am able to keep flowing so the photographer can get good shots. I also danced on pointe and in heels which helped my balance and allowed me to have a smooth runway walk. I could go on and on about the advantages it has.”

Wingspan: How have your friends and family responded to your newfound modeling career?

Williams: “My parents and friends for the most part are extremely supportive and proud. At times my grandparents and parents get worried about me being so exposed but they let me make my own choices and are always there for me.”

Wingspan: What kind of shoots have you done, and have you traveled to any?

Williams: “Mostly I’ve done photo shoots to build up my portfolio. They are called Test Shoots. Basically these are the photos you show to casting directors so they can see how well you photograph. I have done a few catalog photo shoots as well. I have traveled to St. Louis, which is where my Mother Agents are, and I’m am going to LA over spring break to do shoots there and see my agent in LA. Eventually I will go to NY, Paris, Milan, Mexico, and possibly Japan when I’m 18.”

Wingspan: What is the most rewarding part of being a model?

Williams: “The most rewarding part is achieving your goals. I know many models including myself set goals that we want to reach and when you finally do it, it is so rewarding. Some of the goals could be to achieve a specific measurement or walk for a certain designer. One of mine was to just get a casting for Ferragamo and I did and it felt great.

Wingspan: What is your advice to anyone who wants to be a model?

Williams: “The best advice I would give is definitely don’t think go into it thinking it will be easy money. It is so much more than that. There are many things you have to do in order to make even a little money, and before you make a lot of money, you have got to build a portfolio which could take a couple years. It is very rewarding but the physical and mental aspects are very draining and frustrating at times.”

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